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If you are looking for a low-maintenance, playful, attention-loving cat who has lots of love to give, consider adding a LaPerm cat to your family. These cats are often social butterflies who sit in your lap while you curl up with a good book on the couch. Named after their signature curly, fluffy hair, LaPerm cats are a medium-sized breed that boasts an often friendly demeanor with humans and other animals alike.
In this article, we’ll explore the details of this sweet, quirky cat breed:
- History & Origin of LaPerm Cats
- Physical Attributes of LaPerm Cats
- Behavioral Characteristics of LaPerm Cats
- LaPerm Cats Health Risks
- Final Notes
History & Origin of LaPerm Cats
The first LaPerm cats were born on a farm in Oregon in 1982. They were born hairless but grew soft, curly coats around eight weeks of age. Several generations of these kittens were born on the farm before the owner realized there was something special about the breed. Soon, the first owner of LaPerm cats started selectively breeding kittens and presented them at a cat show, where they were first called LaPerm, meaning wavy or rippled, because of the cats’ unique coats. The LaPerm Society of America was established in 1997, which helped the breed gain notoriety from the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA).1
Physical Attributes of LaPerm Cats
LaPerm cats are considered medium-sized cats with an athletic, lean build. They have large expressive eyes and medium ears. The most recognizable feature of LaPerm cats is their curly, soft fur, with no undercoat. LaPerm cats have both long-coated and short-coated variations. Long-coated LaPerm cats have a plumed tail and a ruff at the neck that looks like a lion’s mane. A short-coated LaPerm cat has a bottle brush tail, a rougher coat texture, and no ruff. Even though LaPerms have curly coats, they are unrelated to other curly-coat breeds like the various “rex” cats.
Some LaPerm kittens are hairless when they are born. However, most kittens are born with a short wavy coat, then lose their baby hairs around two weeks and remain mostly bald for four months. After four months, a LaPerm’s adult coat grows and matures into the signature wavy fur.
On average, a healthy LaPerm cat lives between 10-15 years. Each cat is different, and a cat’s lifespan depends on many factors, including environment and genetics. Typically, a healthy LaPerm cat weighs between 6 to 12 pounds.
Other than their trademark coat, LaPerm cats don’t have a signature color or markings. LaPerm cats can have a range of markings and colors, like many other cat breeds. LaPerm cats can be black, gray, orange, white, calico (females only) or have tabby markings.1-2
Behavioral Characteristics of LaPerm Cats
LaPerm cats are often fun and playful. The breed is often intelligent, loving, and can be great for families or first-time cat owners. LaPerm cats love to give and receive affection, so they will usually thrive best in a home with other cats, a cat-friendly dog, or people who are home often. Additionally, this breed often doesn’t mind being picked up and carried and traditionally makes wonderful pets for homes with kids, who don’t always do well with a pet’s boundaries.4
LaPerm cats are active and love to play, but their coats aren’t good in wet or windy weather. Vets recommend keeping your LaPerm as an indoor cat and providing them with lots of fun things to play with.4 Give your LaPerm cat enriching toys and spaces, such as climbing shelves, a cat tree, or a ramp, so they can expel their energy, then take a nice long nap in the sun. Giving your cat an outlet for their zoomies also helps curb any destructive behavior, like clawing furniture or eating forbidden items.
They are also often bright and can be clicker trained to learn commands. It’s not only dogs that can learn new tricks. Keep in mind, all individual cats are unique and possess their own personality traits that may vary from those that are often associated with the breed as a whole.
LaPerm Cat Health Risks
LaPerm cats are considered a healthy breed and generally don’t have additional health risks related to their breed. No known genetic disorders or common illnesses are associated with LaPerm cats. To keep your LaPerm cat healthy, you must maintain regular vet visits and follow any medical advice from a licensed veterinarian.4
Some routine healthcare actions for your LaPerm cat include:
- Rabies vaccine: even if your cat is strictly an indoor animal, a rabies vaccine is legally required. It protects your cat from the deadly disease.
- Feline Distemper Vaccine: Feline Distemper is a deadly virus that causes debilitating and even fatal health complications.
- Flea medicine: Yes, even indoor cats need flea medication. Most veterinarians suggest giving your LaPerm cat a monthly preventative flea and heartworm medicine. Fleas can carry harmful diseases, and cats can develop tapeworms from ingesting fleas. The most common type of flea medicine is a liquid that you put in a place the cat can’t reach with its tongue to lick off, like the back of its neck.
- Teeth cleaning: To promote your cat’s dental health , you can brush your LaPerm cat’s teeth daily with a special toothbrush and toothpaste designed for cats. Your vet will determine when your cat is due for professional teeth cleaning.
While not specific to this breed, LaPerm cats, like all cats, can also be at risk for diabetes if their weight isn’t properly managed. Make sure your cat gets plenty of exercise and maintains a healthy diet, and look out for these symptoms of diabetes in cats:
- Excessive thirst
- Changes in appetite
- Urinating outside the litter box
If you suspect your LaPerm cat is showing symptoms of diabetes or any other illness, contact Dutch to schedule a telehealth visit with a licensed veterinarian.
Are LaPerm cats friendly?
Every cat is different, and each cat has a unique personality. However, LaPerm cats are often a friendly breed and make great pets for the right pet parent(s). LaPerm cats often crave attention and love to sit on laps. If you shower your cat with affection, treats, and cat toys, you’ll likely have a loyal and loving best friend.
How expensive are LaPerm cats?
LaPerm cats are considered rare, so purebred a LaPerm cat can be expensive. Depending on the breeder, a LaPerm kitten can cost between $500-$1,000. If you are looking to adopt a LaPerm cat and want to rescue rather than purchase from a breeder, you can contact some LaPerm rescue organizations to adopt an adult cat or kitten that needs a home.
When you adopt a cat, you also must consider the overall costs of owning a pet over its lifetime. Monetarily providing for your pet doesn’t stop at the adoption fee. Here are some other expenses you should keep in mind when you bring your LaPerm cat home:
- Veterinary visits: regular vet visits are necessary for a happy and healthy cat. If you are looking for an easy and convenient vet appointment option, try Dutch and make a telehealth visit with a licensed vet.
- Food and treats: Pets are just like us: they get hungry! Depending on your budget and your cat’s dietary needs, there are several different types and brands. Food on the more expensive end tends to be made with higher-quality ingredients, although that’s not always the case. You can talk to your vet about the best food for your LaPerm cat. And don’t forget the treats! Treats are a great way to promote positive behavior, help with training, and are delicious.
- Emergency visits and illnesses: As much as we wish it weren’t true, even pets have medical emergencies. It’s almost impossible to anticipate when these will happen, so it's recommended to have an emergency stash of cash tucked away, just in case.
- Insurance: Pets can have medical insurance too! Pet insurance is an up-front cost but can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.
Do LaPerm cats shed?
All cats shed, but LaPerm cats are pretty low maintenance and don’t shed very much. They need occasional grooming, but the “unkempt” look is part of the breed’s charm. Despite their longer hair, they usually don’t get matted coats. You can avoid putting a LaPerm cat in the tub for a bath unless they get into something dirty. If a bath is necessary, use a specially formulated shampoo for cats and avoid getting shampoo in their eyes, nose, and ears.
LaPerm cats are often very friendly and affectionate and can make a great addition to any home. LaPerm cats are generally easy to care for and, with regular health checkups, can live a long and happy life. When you’re ready to bring a LaPerm kitten into your home, consider making a telehealth appointment with Dutch to keep your new friend happy and healthy.
Team, Pets4Homes Editorial. “Differences between the Devon Rex, Cornish Rex, La Perm, and Selkirk Rex.” Pets4Homes, 21 Mar. 2022, www.pets4homes.co.uk/pet-advice/differences-between-the-devon-rex-cornish-rex-la-perm-and-selkirk-rex.html.
“La Perms Cat Breed Information.” Purina, www.purina.co.uk/find-a-pet/cat-breeds/la-perms. Accessed 14 Aug. 2023.
“LaPerm.” PetMD, www.petmd.com/cat/breeds/c_ct_laperm. Accessed 14 Aug. 2023.
“LaPerm: What to Know.” WebMD, www.webmd.com/pets/cats/what-to-know-la-perm. Accessed 14 Aug. 2023.